Virginia shooting highlights workplace violence

Statistics show rise in coworker injuries, deaths

By Francesca Amiker - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Wednesday morning's shooting of Adam Ward and Alison Parker, two journalists who were killed on live TV by a disgruntled co-worker police said, is not only a tragedy, but a startling reminder that workplace violence can strike anyone in any field.

As it stands there is no federal workplace violence standard but experts are saying that having a policy in place, no matter how small or large the business, is a necessity.

Coming in second to transportation accidents, workplace violence continues to be the second leading cause of death on the job.

According to the latest numbers from the American Federation of Labor, in 2013 there were more than 400 murders in the workplace and 26,000 people were injured by a co-worker.

The televised, highly public shooting of Ward and Parker is now raising even more questions about workplace violence policies who Mark Addington, a local attorney with Addington Law, says should be required even though they're not.

Addington said that employees should protect themselves by reporting all warning signs like sadness, anger or rage that an employee might show to higher ups to hopefully stop a tragic situation from happening.

"Those reporting type policies are critical for a number of reasons. The first is it may be a precursor to a dangerous situation that the employer can try to rectify in a way that they can avoid a very bad or volatile situation," Addington said.

In the case of Ward and Parker, that former employee was fired from the station and told not to return two years ago.

If employees have come forward and still feel like their safety is in jeopardy there are other steps that they can take.

Employees can file a complaint to have OSHA inspect their workplace if they believe that their employer is not following proper safety standards or if there are serious hazards.

People can file a complaint with OSHA by calling 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), online with an eComplaint Form or by printing a paper complaint form and mailing or faxing it to a local OSHA office. Experts said that complaints that are signed by a worker are more likely to result in an inspection.

OSHA also says that any complaints filed through their office are kept confidential and that more information can be found on their website.
 

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